'F*cking Loser' Files LOLsuit Against Mary Trump And NYT For Tortious Journalism And Mean True Words
"I think he is a fucking loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can," Mary Trump told the Daily Beast. "It's desperation. The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that will stick. As is always the case with Donald, he'll try and change the subject."
That's really all you need to know about the lawsuit the former president filed against his niece and the New York Times yesterday, as first reported by DB. It's an embarrassing tire fire of nonsense, full stop.
How embarrassing? Here's some howling from the very first page of the complaint:
The defendants engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records which they exploited for their own benefit and utilized as a means of falsely legitimizing their publicized works. The defendants' actions were motivated by a personal vendetta and their desire to gain fame, notoriety, acclaim and a financial windfall and were further intended to advance their political agenda.
The brazenness of the defendants' actions cannot be understated. [Emphasis added.]
All the best words!
Trump is seeking $100 million — US dollars! — in what is essentially a breach of contract case arising out of the settlement agreement that ended the litigation over his parents' estate in 2000. In general, there are no punitive damages in a contract dispute — if you win, you just get your money back. And it's not clear exactly how he was damaged anyway. Is his theory that he lost votes because of his niece's revelations? Seems like he might run into a teensy problem there, since he's been claiming to have won the election in a landslide for upwards of ten months now.
As with so many laws, Trump has not only ignored the basics of Contracts 101, he's tacked on a bunch of made up shit, including accusing Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susanne Craig of tortiously interfering with the settlement contract by convincing Mary Trump to hand over the records in 2017. Craig and her fellow reporter defendants, David Barstow and Russell Beuttner, used the materials for a 2018 article titled "Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches from His Father," which piece described the family's various tax avoidance stratagems, depicting Trump as kind of a fuck up and puncturing the notion of the former president as a self-made man.
"I knocked on Mary Trump's door. She opened it. I think they call that journalism," Craig tweeted.
She admits to tortious journalisming, LOCK HER UP!
Trump's arguments against the paper and the reporters are just gobbledygook. The media has a First Amendment right to seek out sources and publish true stories on matters of public interest, and anyway, the reporters weren't party to the original contract, so its terms cannot be enforced against them.
But it's very much an open question whether the terms of the Settlement Agreement can even be enforced against Mary Trump herself. In her own lawsuit against Trump and his siblings, she claims that the agreement is void because the financial information they presented to get her to sign it was all bullshit — or, in lawtalk, there was fraud in the inducement. And we've never seen the actual agreement, since Trump's lawyers have only seen fit to offer up select quotes from it to bolster their case.
But Dutchess County Justice Hal Greenwald has seen the entire document, since Mary Trump's lawyers showed it to him last year when Trump's brother Robert Trump (now deceased) sued to enjoin publication of her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (Wonkette-bonus link right there), and His Honor was not impressed.
"Too many words, with too many meanings. The cost of the litigation that was settled should have been finalized with more specifics, more clarity, if the current situation was even comprehended, at the time the Agreement was signed," he wrote, describing the confidentiality clause as "so overly broad, as to be ineffective."
And while Trump would like to paint the contract as first and foremost a non-disclosure agreement, the court noted that it functioned primarily to settle the litigation around the estate itself.
Simply put, plaintiff claims the goal of the agreement was to prevent confidential information from being released. Was that so? Wasn't the Agreement a stipulation to settle multiple lawsuits? Make payments to several parties? There was no specific consideration given to anyone for confidentiality. The consideration was provided to settle disputes. The parties agreed to keep the settlement under seal. That's it.
It's not at all clear what Grandpa Streisand Effect thinks he's going to accomplish with this lawsuit. But the last time he sued, albeit using his brother as a conduit, he managed to ensure that his niece's book rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. And, hey whaddayaknow, she's got another one that just came out last month titled The Reckoning: Our Nation's Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal (Wonklink there).
Maybe this whole idiotic exercise is just the misguided effort of a loving uncle to gin up publicity and goose sales for his beloved niece.
Just kidding, lunatic assholes gonna lunatic asshole.
Over here humming 'Maria.' The one from The Sound Of Music, not the one from West Side Story, you dolts.
Daniel Lippman and Lara Seligman at Politico reported yesterday that stories from Bob Woodward's new book about Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley secretly (and frantically!) calling China to reassure them that Donald Trump wasn't going to surprise-bomb them "are greatly exaggerated, according to two people familiar with the discussions."
So put your wiener dog back in the garage and simmer down, Marco Rubio and everybody else screaming TREASON!
Politico goes over Woodward's reporting:
A forthcoming book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa claims that Milley grew concerned about then-President Donald Trump's instability and the possibility that he might spark a war with China, prompting him to arrange a pair of secret phone calls with Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army. The first was on Oct. 30, just four days before the presidential election, and the second on Jan. 8, two days after a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol.
During the calls, Milley reassured Li that the United States would not strike, and pledged to give his counterpart a heads up if Trump ordered an attack, according to The Washington Post.
"General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise," Milley is reported to have said.
Politico reported out the same claims and according to a defense official, they are "grossly mischaracterized." Not all wrong, mind you. "Grossly mischaracterized." Keep those words in mind.
The official said the calls were not out of the ordinary, and the chairman was not frantically trying to reassure his counterpart.
Politico's reporting says this wasn't Milley gone "rogue" either, like the book implies. Politico says he "asked permission" of (acting) Defense Secretary Chris Miller on what we're guessing was that second call. (The first call was before the election, before Miller was acting SecDef.) Miller more or less confirmed this to Politico, saying he thinks it was "perfunctory/routine." Politico has a lot of confirmations like this from various sources. Woodward and his co-author Robert Costa say they're stickin' by their reporting.
Meanwhile, Axios reported this week that in the days before the election, when that first call happened, then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper was ordering all kinds of back-channeling to the Chinese in response to what the Pentagon thought was bad intel the Chinese were getting about America's intentions. That's a heavy over-simplification of Axios's reporting, but like the Politico, it's quite a bit more nuanced than what Woodward is saying.
Which leads us to today's question:
Is Bob Woodward full of shit?
Well, let's just say that if we say Bob Woodward is full of shit, Bob Woodward might think we meant that his entire body, from his head down to his toes, and all parts in between, is literally FULL OF POOP. And that's not what we're saying at all. It's an expression, Bob.
Point is, we're getting the feeling that Woodward didn't necessarily get this wrong. He just might not have gotten it quite right either. He might be confused about the tone and/or tenor of what his sources told him. It seems everybody agrees that Milley talked to China twice, and that he told them to please relax. There just seems to be a lot of confusion over whether these were frantic top secret phone calls or totally routine or maybe shades of something in between.
In light of this week's controversy, people are tweeting a piece comedy writer Tanner Colby published in Slate about Woodward in 2013:
A little more than a week ago, during an interview with Politico, Bob Woodward came forward to claim he'd been threatened in an email by a "senior White House official" for daring to reveal certain details about the negotiations over the budget sequester. The White House responded by releasing the email exchange Woodward was referring to, which turned out to be nothing more than a cordial exchange between the reporter and Obama's economic adviser, Gene Sperling, who was clearly implying nothing more than that Woodward would "regret" taking a position that would soon be shown to be false.
A rather trivial scandal, but the incident did manage to raise important questions about Woodward's behavior. Was he cynically trumping up the administration's "threat," or does he just not know how to read an email? Pretty soon, those questions tipped over into the standard Beltway discussion that transpires anytime Woodward does anything. How accurate is his reporting? Does he deserve his legendary status?
Or rather, paraphrased for this week's news, did General Mark Milley really meet his Chinese counterpart under the bleachers and say war secrets to him as their naked bodies embraced, or is Bob just bein' a real Bob right now?
Colby then told the meat of his story, which was about how, in the course of writing a biography of the late great John Belushi, he ended up literally re-reporting the details of a book Woodward had written about Belushi, and found that Woodward had just gotten one billion things wrong. But the thing was, Woodward didn't get them wrong wrong. He just ... didn't seem to understand the meaning of the correct things he had reported out.
He doesn't make Jonah Lehrer–level mistakes. There's never a smoking gun like an outright falsehood or a brazen ethical breach. And yet, in the final product, a lot of what Woodward writes comes off as being not quite right—some of it to the point where it can feel quite wrong. There's no question that he frequently ferrets out information that other reporters don't. But getting the scoop is only part of the equation. Once you have the facts, you have to present those facts in context and in proportion to other facts in order to accurately reflect reality. It's here that Woodward fails.
Not quite right. That seems to be the key here, maybe.
Colby said he'd often find in the course of his own reporting that a story from Woodward's book was just plain wrong. But then he'd go back and look up what Woodward had actually written, and find that Woodward had "put down the mechanics of the story more or less as they'd happened. But he'd so mangled the meaning and the context that his version had nothing to do with what I concluded had actually transpired." One of Colby's sources explained that Woodward got the pure facts of one particular story about Belushi right, but that he completely misunderstood the attitude around those facts, which made the story just wrong. Colby said Woodward's book about Belushi was like that "throughout."
All this seems to apply to our current situation.
So in light of all this, what are we to do with Woodward's reporting, which is often explosive and valuable? We think it's mostly the same thing we've been doing. Write about his revelations, use the words "If Woodward's reporting is correct" a whole bunch, and then if sources start coming forward to say "WHOA THERE, Bob Woodward seems to be doing that thing again," then also talk about that, like we are doing right now.
And if that doesn't happen, then it's possible it's because Woodward got it right.
Also we should probably watch out for stories where Woodward reports that the president's cat literally stole his tongue, or that the president has hurled a baby out an upstairs window at the White House along with a large tub of bathwater, or that there is a dead horse on the White House lawn right now and the president is beating it. God forbid the man writes about somebody getting thrown under the bus, he'll think he's doing the traffic report.
Be gentle with the old man, pobody's nerfect, that's what we are saying.
One thing is for sure, and it's that when Milley testifies in Congress in a couple weeks, we are liveblogging that shit.
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We'll eventually get to clean energy, and if we lose a species here, an ecosystem there, that beats deficits.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D? West Virginia) said on CNN Sunday he's opposed to a central part of his party's plan to transition the US to a green energy economy, because he figures the energy market will get us there sooner or later anyway anyhow. On CNN's "State of the Union," Manchin told host Dana Bash that he's not going to support the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better reconciliation bill unless its overall price tag comes down, although he refused to say how much spending he would support. Manchin also said that while he supports higher taxes on the rich and on corporations, that level of taxation can't be so high that it leaves all the rich corporations so sad that they can no longer find any joy in creating jobs, either. He said "globally competitive" a lot.
For the most part, it was typical Manchin: No, I don't like all this spending, what about the deficit and inflation, let's just put the president's agenda on hold for a while and see how the economy does, and so on. While he was at it, Manchin also said for the first time that he opposes spending aimed at speeding America's transition toward clean electric generation.
This is because Manchin can't be happy with being an obstructive prick in general; he has to be an obstructive prick about slowing down the move away from a fossil fuel economy. We suspect the man may actually be composed of 30 percent coal. (But there's no way to know, since his coal company is in a "blind trust." For all we and he know, it's a llama farm now!)
Specifically, Manchin told Bash he opposes the House's proposal to spend some $150 billion to speed up the transition to clean power generation by rewarding utilities that increase their production of electricity with renewable sources, and punishing those that don't. It's called the "Clean Electricity Performance Program," and you can read more about the details in this Reuters summary.
Manchin told Bash he just doesn't see the point in spending money to get America off the fossil fuel teat, since after all our overall energy production portfolio is very very slowly getting there through the magic of the free market anyway:
Let me tell you this. Let's look at what we have done for the last 20 years. In 20 — in 2000, the year 2000, 52 percent of our electricity came from coal. Only about 16 percent came from natural gas, and only about 9.5 percent came from renewables, 20 years to date, OK?
2020, 19 percent from coal, 40 percent from natural gas, and up to 20 percent for renewables. The transition is happening. Now they're wanting to pay companies to do what they're already doing. Makes no sense to me at all for us to take billions of dollars and pay utilities for what they're going to do as the market transitions.
Manchin insisted that since we'll get there eventually — he didn't suggest any kind of timeline — then any effort to speed up the transition to clean energy "makes no sense at all."
Instead of pointing out to Manchin that it makes a hell of a lot of sense, since the only way to prevent the very worst effects of global warning is to eliminate fossil fuels as quickly as possible worldwide, Bash instead went for a cheap attempt at a gotcha, noting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Twitter criticism that Manchin "has weekly huddles with Exxon and is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called bipartisan fossil fuels bills."
It's a valid enough complaint, although Bash didn't mention the ExxonMobil lobbyist who bragged about his weekly phone calls with Manchin's office in a video. But instead of getting at the point of why the transition to clean energy is absolutely necessary to stave off catastrophic warming, Bash sent the conversation veering off into an unproductive attempt to get Manchin to admit he's in the pocket of energy interests.
Later in the program, Bash spoke with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who said he's not at all willing to agree to significant reductions in the Build Back Better plan, largely because the $3.5 trillion plan was already a huge compromise from the roughly $6 trillion target the White House and Senate progressives wanted. More importantly, Sanders got right to the point of why we do indeed need to accelerate the shift to a clean energy economy: "The scientists will tell us that we got a few years left before there will be irreparable, irreversible harm to our planet if we do not address climate change."
And again, let's point out that's exactly what the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said yet again in its most recent report: We can fix this, but time is running out.
The canary in our coal mine keeps chirping, so it might be a good idea to listen to it before we all keel over. Perhaps someone can make that make sense to Joe Manchin, finally.
Update: Looks like Joe Biden himself will get the chance to have a word with Manchin and Sen Kyrsten Sinema today about the importance of doing this right. May arms be twisted and harmony be achieved.
New - Biden is planning on meeting (separately) with Manchin and Sinema later today to discuss the pending reconcil… https://t.co/azs6ggOriD— Seung Min Kim (@Seung Min Kim) 1631710464.0
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Your infuriating Joe Manchin Sunday shows rundown
Last week, rather than negotiating with the Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders or Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Joe Manchin wrote a public "Dear Diary" for everyone (behind a paywall) in
The Wall Street Journal. The idiotic op-ed had Manchin asking to "hit the pause button" on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, without giving many specifics about what he really wants. So, the Sunday shows, as they always do, invited Manchin on to
give him attention further elaborate on his op-ed. Clearly, Manchin was not expecting the anchors to actually push him to explain himself.
On CNN's "State of The Union," after confirming Manchin would be a "no" vote on the reconciliation bill, Dana Bash asked the next logical question...which apparently Manchin never was prepared to answer.
BASH: [A]re you saying it's the price tag, it's the timeline? Both?
MANCHIN: It's the urgency. Do we have the urgency to do what they're wanting to do in such a quick period of time?
BASH: But can you be specific? OK, let's just -- let's talk about the dollar sign. [...] Do you have a specific number in mind?
MANCHIN: Here's a number you should be getting to. First of all, I have agreed to get onto the reconciliation, because that's the time for us to make financial adjustments and changes. [...]
BASH: So, what's the number?
MANCHIN: And bottom line is, what's -- the number would be what's going to be competitive in our tax code.
Bash kept pushing Manchin to answer the elusive "what do you want" question, while Manchin kept saying meaningless folksy things like "I have always said if I can't explain it, I can't vote for it."
BASH: And I'm -- again, I want to get to that, but just because this is -- this is the thing that people consume. Do you have a ceiling?
MANCHIN: I -- my ceiling is this, the need of the American people, and for us to basically take in consideration inflation.
Manchin knows the price is too high but when asked what the number should be, it's just word salad.
Bash then brought up Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's correct criticisms of his objections, like these for instance:
Fossil fuel corps & dark money is destroying our democracy, country, & planet. All day our community has been pull… https://t.co/XEGaU8CXnJ— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1630614510.0
In response, Manchin was condescending and quite frankly kinda sexist!
BASH: Is it true that you have weekly meetings with Exxon and other lobbyists for fossil fuels?
MANCHIN: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And you ask them if they have ever -- no, they don't -- weekly meetings, I don't...
BASH: It's just false?
MANCHIN: I keep my door open for everybody. It's totally false. And those types of superlatives, it's just awful. Continue to divide, divide, divide. I don't know that young lady that well. I really don't. I have met her one time, I think, between sets here. But that's it. So, we have not had any conversations. She just speculating and saying things because she wants to ...
First, "I keep my door open for everybody" is as much bullshit when Manchin says it as it is when Marco Rubio said it's fine for him to take money from the NRA if they want to " buy into [his] agenda." Second, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is a member of Congress, not your daughter or your grandchild. Keep your patronizing "young lady" descriptor and give her the respect she's earned as an elected official.
On NBC's "Meet The Press," Manchin's bullshit was so weak he made Chuck Todd seem like a journalist (barely). When Manchin tried to criticize how the mostly paid-for reconciliation bill would be paid for, Todd actually called him out:
TODD: They want to pay for about $2 trillion, deficit spend with dynamic scoring. Look, the infrastructure bill that you helped facilitate has dynamic scoring, which some would argue is deficit spending until we see if the economic growth --
MANCHIN: We could've paid for that very easily without any of the --
TODD: But we didn't pay for it.
MANCHIN: -- dynamic scoring. But because you know what? They wouldn't go for it. They wouldn't basically let allow us to move in that direction because --
TODD: So why is it okay to do that, and you don't want to do this one?
MANCHIN:-- we're still going to do some dynamic scoring and all that. But let's be responsible and reasonable about it.
So dynamic scoring and inflation worries are not an issue when it comes to HIS pet projects. Cool.
On ABC's "This Week" -- yes really he was on ALL THE SHOWS -- George Stephanopoulos called out Manchin's moving of the goalposts on the price tag he's willing to support.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Back in January, you proposed spending $4 trillion on infrastructure. So what changed?
MANCHIN: Well, you're talking about -- it was about $4.5 trillion they had, talking about. Is that what you're talking about, with the president's...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, you were saying...
MANCHIN: ... Build Back Better plan?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said about...
MANCHIN: Having both of those put together, and I said from day one, these are two completely different categories.
Fun fact: a key component of the reconciliation bill would lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies. This would give the government greater insight into how pharmaceutical executives set prices. Why are we bringing this up right now? Oh no reason.
Fuck Joe Manchin.
Have a week!
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